Trendy, if pricey riding glasses from Smith.
If you want a pair of goggle-style MTB sunglasses, the new Bobcat from Smith has you covered. It comes in six frame and six lens options and the one here uses the black Evolve frames with the Black ChromaPop Lens. As the name suggests, the lens enhances contrast and makes details pop, but also included in the box is a clear lens. Switching between the two means pulling off the bottom of the frame and everything just unclips.
Like most Smith eyewear, the Bobcat features AutoLock hinges, which hold the glasses open, so you can take them on and off with one hand. It also has a two-position adjustable nose pad, which fits different nose widths, but it also allows you to fine tune the lens position, so if you pull it open the lens will sit closer to your face. Overall lens clarity is excellent, and I found them to be resistant to scratches.
I’ve been riding in Smith glasses for two years, but my go-to option has been the Flywheel, which has a similar lens size to the Bobcat. The difference is it has more wraparound, which for me means the frames are less visible while riding. With the Bobcat I can see the arms out of the corner of my eye, and there’s a bigger gap between the lower edge of the lens and my face, which also lets in the odd flick of dirt.
In open terrain the ChromaPop lens is fantastic, but in dappled light – riding in and out of the trees on a sunny day – it takes a moment for my eyes to readjust. There were also times when it was just too dark, which is why I mainly run the clear lens on bright days.
Overall I still prefer the shade and shape of the Flywheel, but the real reason I’m not sold on the Bobcat is the price. Both glasses have Smith’s excellent lens quality and attention to detail, it’s just the Bobcat is £174, but you can pick up the Flywheel for less than £100.